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Impressive find was discovered during the excavations of Rusokastro fortress
Wednesday, 26 Jul 2017 - Archeological Museum
The archaeological excavations of Rusokastro fortress have revealed an extremely rare and elite find. A two-sided icon of ivory was found, with a facial image of Archangel Gabriel and St. Basil the Great. On the reverse side are depicted two crosses - the cross and the procession. The images are part of the Annunciation scene.
Essentially, the find is a triptych wing. It was threefold and was used as a mobile altar.

The holly object was made in the 10th century in Constantinople upon the order of one of the Byzantine emperors or a member of the imperial family. Only they had the opportunity to receive the extraordinarily expensive middle-aged ivory, which then was valued more than gold.

Worldwide, no more than 15 similar finds were found during archaeological excavations. Only one similar object was found in Bulgaria at the royal citadel of Trapezitsa in Veliko Tarnovo. It was discovered by the French archaeologist Georges Sierre in the early 20th century and is a fragment of an ivory icon depicting the Assumption.

Findings of such an elite class are stored in the world's largest museums such as the Louvre, the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, and now the Regional historical Museum in Burgas. Their rarity is due to the fact that they were made only for the needs of the Byzantine emperors and their closest family circle. Today, such finds are stored in some ecclesiastical treasures in Western Europe, where they have arrived after the Fourth Crusade. Then the knights captured Constantinople, plundered the Byzantine imperial treasury in which such ivory articles were kept. Later they donate them to some of the cathedrals in the major Western European cities.

The excavations of the Rusokastro fortress are carried out by team from Regional historical Museum Burgas under the archaeologist Milen Nikolov. They are financed by the Municipality of Kameno, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Bulgaria and National Museum of History.


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